Partnering with stakeholders, NIOSH has applied the most current 3-dimensional digital scanning technology and developed improved body-shape quantification methods to advance anthropometry research

male and female cops at squad car

Law Enforcement Officer Anthropometry for Safe Vehicle Operation and Personal Protection

The project goals are to 1) establish a national database of law enforcement officer (LEO) body dimensions and shapes, 2) use the data to develop criteria to update standards related to police vehicles and personal protective equipment (PPE), and 3) transfer the data to industry for improvements to PPE and vehicles. Data collection began in June 2018 and was completed in January 2020. The database consists of 974 officers (756 men and 218 women) across four geographic regions (12 data collection sites) of the United States for a representative sample. Females were oversampled; this is necessary for statistical reasons. The database includes traditional measurements and three dimensional (3D) scans. Quality check of the data set is underway. The study reveals that equipment design based on the existing civilian datasets or 46-year-old LEO dataset would not accommodate the current LEO population. The new data fill this gap. Application: The differences reported above are important for LEO body gear, vehicle console, and vehicle ingress/egress design.

Project contact: Joyce Zwiener
Protective Technology Branch, Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5814
Project period: 2015-2022

use of firefighter anthropometric data for fire apparatus design

Sizing Firefighters and Fire Apparatus: Safe by Design
This project established a large-scale anthropometric database of U.S. firefighters for the design of ergonomically-efficient automotive fire apparatus. Ergonomically sound fire apparatus helped reduce the exposure of firefighters to fatal and non-fatal injuries. The database consisted of anthropometric data for 900 firefighters and apparatus workspace data for 195 firefighters, who were selected as representative of the U.S. firefighter population in age, gender, and race/ethnicity. The database included traditional anthropometric measurements, digital scans in 5 postures, and fire-truck cab workspace measurements. Results from this study have been applied to the updating of relevant NFPA standards on fire apparatus and the design of fire-engine cabs, seats, restraint systems, and firefighter bunker gear.

Project contact: Jim Harris, Ph.D.
Protective Technology Branch, Division of Safety Research
Project period: 2008-2012

A digital model of a truck driver

Improved Truck Cab Design through Applied Anthropometry
The purpose of this project was to establish an anthropometric database of U.S. truck drivers for the design of ergonomically-efficient truck cabs to reduce exposure to fatal and non-fatal injury hazards among U.S. truck drivers. The database, which is now current, consists of stratified anthropometric and workspace data of 1,779 male and 171 female truck drivers across the U.S. It also includes digital scans and truck cab workspace measurements for an additional 200 truck drivers. This project engages major U.S. truck manufacturers to develop ergonomically-efficient truck cabs. In addition, results from this study can be used to update relevant Society of Safety Engineers (SAE) standards for truck cab occupant environments.

Project contact: Jinhua Guan, Ph.D.
Protective Technology Branch, Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-6333
Project period: 2006–2011

A device for registering head and face forms in 3D formats

Development of Computer-Aided Face-Fit Evaluation Methods
This project also developed computer-aided face-fit evaluation methods. A nationwide anthropometric survey of the heads and faces of U.S. workers was conducted. Using this data, new respirator fit test panels were developed. Headforms were also developed for testing respirators, safety glasses, and helmets. A new design approach using 3D data was developed and compared to the traditional approach using facial dimensions. Shape statistics were used to capture the variability in the actual shape of the faces. Outcomes included the establishment of new fit test panels for today’s U.S. workers; development of headforms, and incorporation of these panels and headforms into NIOSH and ISO respirator standards.

Project contact: Ziqing Zhuang, Ph.D.
Technology Research Branch, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory
(412) 386-4055
Project period: 2001–2011

Assessing harness fit to workers using 3D scanning technologies

Harness Design and Sizing Effectiveness
This project developed a whole-body fall-arrest-harness sizing scheme and design to control hazards during falls from elevation. Human size data, extracted from an existing database of U.S. workers and four controlled laboratory studies on harness fit to construction workers, were used. Researchers also used three-dimensional anthropometry information to determine the sizing scheme and to develop torso/hip/thigh strap assemblies and rigging components that best enhanced the ability of the worker to select and use the harness. Partnering with harness manufacturers, the harness system has been validated for efficacy and introduced into prototyping for production. The research will help the construction and other industries to reduce the risk of injury that results from poor user fit, improper selection, and the failure to don the protective equipment properly.

Project contact: Jim Harris, Ph.D.
Protective Technology Branch, Division of Safety Research
Project period: 2002-2006

use of 3D digital human models for farm tractor cab design

Anthropometry Criteria for the Design of Tractor Cabs and Protection Frames
This project investigated agriculture worker-tractor interfaces for safe tractor operation, using three-dimensional human- and tractor-scan information. Specifically, the project developed (1) approaches to quantify 3-D human shapes and sizing information for assessing machine and equipment accommodation level, (2) representative human body models for machine design applications, and (3) anthropometric criteria for the design of farming tractors and rollover protective structures (ROPS) to increase the safety of farming-tractor operation. The research results were shared with the SAE J2194 standard committee for possible revisions to the tractor-cab-dimension standard, which will have a potential impact on the design of next-generation tractor cabs for better protection of tractor/farming machine operators.

Project contact: Jim Harris, Ph.D.
Protective Technology Branch, Division of Safety Research
Project period: 2000-2003

Digital hand modeling for protective gloves sizing applications

Hand Anthropometry of Meat Processing Workers This project studied hand anthropometry of workers for designing better fitting protective gloves. It collected and analyzed hand anthropometry of male and female meat processing workers measured at a pork processing plant in the United States, with an emphasis on the Hispanic subsample in the study population.

Project contact: Jim Harris, Ph.D.
Protective Technology Branch, Division of Safety Research
Project period: 2001-2006